Wrap a wrap a wrap

A Friday Haiku

Another week gone

Where do they go? I don’t know

To join dryer socks?

Exercises come and go

If you’re anything like me (and if you are, I apologize), you tend to hate certain exercises and quickly get bored with others.

Running, I’m good to go, even if I sometimes take more days off between runs than I should; I still look forward to my runs and enjoy them (well, except for those first several minutes where you question your own sanity and wonder why you torture yourself so until the endorphins hit, the sun comes out, and the birds sing).

But other exercises I’ve always hated.

Stretching has always been my ultimate nemesis. I could neven touch my toes in grade school (and still can’t). So any stretching regimen I start ends quickly in pain and frustration. I don’t need such negativity in my life. I get it, I’m a failure at flexibility.

Push-ups are another. Loathe them. I don’t know what it is about them, but I really have to force myself to do them. Bench presses, on the other hand, I don’t mind and in fact, when I can feel the burn in my chest, shoulders, and triceps, I become motivated to do extra reps. But push-ups, I just collapse on the floor and give up.

Sit-ups and crunches I hate as well, and not because they sometimes hurt my back. I always need something to hook my feet under or I just sort of thrash away like a turtle on its back. In high school gym it was very embarrassing.

And that must be the reason for my dislike of certain exercises, there is some sort of psychological association with high school gym where all the other boys were towering over me, muscles rippling (think The Crusher from Bugs Bunny), and they could pound out dozens of push-ups, sit-ups, as well as the dreaded chin-up, and throw in an iron cross for good measure, while I’d struggle with my skinny spaghetti limbs trembling and flailing around, never accomplishing anything.

Now that I think about it, high school gym class was exactly like that for me.

Anyway, I meant to talk about how I start doing some exercises, but then quickly forget to do them, but I got off on a tangent on why I skipped gym all the time.

I was noticing a pain or weakness in my hamstrings and buttock the last few weeks when I step up onto something, like curbs or stairs.

Running was causing a strength imbalance and the stretches I attempted weren’t helping.

I realized I had gotten away from doing hamstring curls on my Weider Crossbow and doing rows on my CardioFit. I call them rows, but the machine is like the Tony Little Healthrider (see below).

These machines were all the rage back in the 80s, so I picked mine up at Sears after our stairstepper died (and Sears wouldn’t do anything so I wrote the CEO, then got a whiny letter from the store manager. “Why didn’t you contact me first?” Because I wanted you to squirm). The Healthrider seems more aerobic, with little resistance. My CardioFit has an adjustable piston to increase the resistence, making it more anerobic, although I’ve rarely dialed it past 2 (it goes up to a muscle- and joint-punishing 9).

Sorry, I did it again. The point is, after a week of this cross-training, my hamstrings feel much better.

And I apologize for taking forever to make that point.

Writing and editing and sex

I’d say I’m about 80 to 85% done with my first round of edits for my urban fantasy fairy tale.

This is the first time I’ve read it through. Strangely, I’m still very excited about it. That must mean it’s horrible.

Right now I’m editing for flow and continuity. I see where I called one character Bill, when his name is Benton. That’s what happens when you grab scenes from a trunk novel and don’t do a thorough read to catch things like that.

I’m back to a concern I mentioned several weeks or months ago about the relationship between two of the characters. They’ve known each other for less than a week and they’ve already fallen in love. Yes, I know such things happen in real life, if infrequently. And yes, I’ve read some urban fantasy romances and it seems the characters are jumping in the sack almost immediately. And therefore, I shouldn’t be that worried, but I am.

I’ve never written anything romantic before. I’ve never been concerned with the love lives of my characters. But beyond this being my first attempt at romance, its also my first attempt at writing a sex scene. To be honest, I haven’t even read very many sex scenes.

And this one has two so far. Scenes that, lacking any literary experience in the matter, I don’t know if they come off as hokie, or cliched, or downright boring.

I wonder if I should pass it to some beta readers to get outside reactions?

Weigh-In Friday

Despite only running on Monday, although I did do some weight training, and eating more than my fair share of my wife’s Dairy Queen ice cream birthday cake, my weight is down below 200 pounds at 199.7. Woot!

Designated Driver

For you couples out there, when you go somewhere together, who drives? The man or the woman?

I grew up in a time when men were the drivers and women were passengers.

Lately, I’ve been noticing more women driving with men as passengers and it still looks out of place to me.

Not for any sexist reasons; I certainly don’t believe gender innately makes someone a better or worse driver. Nor do I believe men are somehow ordained to rule over or control women.

In my case, I drive because for one thing, I get carsick as a passenger. For another, I drive my wife crazy because I don’t know what to do with myself as a passenger. I can’t read or play on my phone because of the motion sickness. So, I fidget, tap my feet, or drum my fingers, play with all the dials and switches, and constantly change the radio station. Being a passenger magnifies my ADHD.

So, very early in our relationship, my wife realized it was better for everyone all around if she let me drive.

Then she could read and play on her phone and ignore the fact that I wait until the very last second before applying the brakes.

Finally nearing the end

Since I spent most of this blog going off on attention deficit fueled tangents, I’ll spare you any political rants for the week.

TheRump is still an orange turd though. Never forget. Never normalize his hatred, bigotry, or incivility. Resist.

Enjoy your weekend. Here’s a song to send you off with:

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Friday roundup

A Friday Haiku

It’s time to party

But we can’t since hackers stole

All of our info!

Equifax fux us over

By now, you’ve heard that back in July Equifax, one of three national credit bureaus that contain all our information, was hacked.

Approximately 143 million people could be affected. Information such as your name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, and driver’s license number could now be in the hands of unscrupulous cybercrimals.

In addition, 209,000 people could have had their credit card numbers exposed.

This is a data breach disaster of epic proportions. This makes hacks of Target, Wendy’s, Starbucks, TJ Maxx, Sony Playstation Network seem like peanuts.

Hacks like this beg the question, why do these credit bureaus exist? I mean other than to make our lives miserable when we try to buy a car. Why are they allowed to have access to, no, have control of all our information?

Didn’t anyone think it was a bad idea to have one company, or even three companies, in control of every person’s personal identifying information?

And why was this info stored where Internet hackers can access it? Shouldn’t it be on a stand alone system inaccessible to any outside snoopers?

And where is the outrage from Congress? Had this been the IRS that was hacked exposing 143 million Americans, the Republicans would have been all over them like flies on shit.

There would be Congressional hearings and investigations. Shouts of outrage at the IRS’s incompetence safeguarding American’s data. They’d grill the IRS Commissioner for weeks. They’d subpoena agency emails and records. Conservatives would be screaming for heads to roll and that the agency should be done away with once and for all.

Instead … silence. Why? Because Equifax is one of their buddy corporations who help the rich get richer by denying the poor and downtrodden credit.

This is our identities that were stolen and no one seems to give a damn. Everyone treats it like this is the new normal and we shouldn’t be surprised.

Well, I’m not just surprised by their lackadaisical attitude about guarding this information, I’m mad as Hell they had access to it in the first place.

Who wants to bet the Koch brothers info wasn’t affected by the hack? They probably keep the 1-percenters’ info secure on a separate gilded server accessible only to servants wearing tuxedos and white gloves with snooty attitudes.

Once again, a giant corporation fucks us over and no one cares.

Update: It looks like several Equifax executives sold their stock in Equifax before the hacking was made public. Scumbag bastards!

To find out if you were affected by the hack

Go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the Potential Impact box at the bottom.

If you were affected, then they’ll give you a date when you can come back to sign up for a free year of credit monitoring.

Good luck.

Amwriting

Yes. I’m still dilgently at work editing the first draft of my urban fantasy fairy tale novel. And yes, I’m still finding it enjoyable.

As I read through it this first time, I’m getting excited because I still think it’s really quite good. Which is a strange reaction for me. Usually, I’m my own worst critic and I’m usually judgemental to the point that I start questioning the story’s worth and my own self-worth as a writer.

That isn’t happening this time. Should I be worried?

Why I still treadmill

For a while there, June and July, I was running outside. I’d get up early, greet the sun, and go for my run.

But now, darkness greets me, so I don’t morning run, I run as soon as I get home from work.

And I run on my treadmill. But why, you ask. Didn’t you tell us a while back that you found running outside more interesting than running on a treadmill? That the treadmill runs seemed to drag on forever?

Yes. Yes, I did. But running on the treadmill is so much more convenient and the weather is always the same. I don’t have to worry about the cold or the heat or rain or eventually, the snow.

Plus, and this will seem a little anal or OCD, I don’t like getting my running shoes dirty.

There. I said it. Running on the treadmill keeps my shoes looking pristine, as if I had just bought them. And I like that.

Running outside, my shoes would pick up mud, dirt, bug guts, and all sorts of icky god knows what kind of gunk. Yuck.

No thanks. I can deal with that on my everyday walkers, but not my running shoes.

Weird, right? But there it is.

Running and rowing

Anyway, I’m back to running a little over a mile a day (I admit I had a few bad weeks there trying to adjust my schedule and remotivate myself), except for the occasional rest day. Instead of increasing my distance, I’m gradually increasing the incline. I’m up to 5%, which doesn’t sound like much, but I can feel it in my hammies and glutes.

Then, after I run the mile, I immediately jump on my Cardiofit and row for several more minutes.

This keeps my heartrate up while working different muscle groups.

We’ll see if it makes a difference.

Weigh-In Friday

I made a decision on my diuretic. Last Friday, I weighed 204 pounds. Up from the previous Friday, but down from that Wednesday.

Well, on Saturday, I weighed myself and I had ballooned up to 208!

C’mon! It had taken me nearly two years to drop 30 pounds. I wasn’t about to put up with my weight going up and down like a yo-yo because of how much water I was retaining depending on how much salt I consumed.

My scale shouldn’t be like a roulette wheel where I wonder what weight it will stop on each time I step on it.

Therefore, I went back on the diuretic.

Today my weight is down to 200.7 pounds. Nearly what it was before I started monkeying around with my hypertension meds.

I’m back on track with my weight loss goal. No more experiments.

A Haiku about TheRump

He thinks he’s our king,

And we’re his loving subjects;

Fuck you, you orange turd.

And In Closing

For those in the path of Irma, stay safe. You’re in our thoughts. As are the people in Texas still trying to recover from Harvey.

For the rest of you, I hope ya’ll have a great weekend, even if some pimply-faced teenager in Russia is maxing out your credit thanks to Equifax.

Here’s a song to leave you with:

Enjoy.

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Some weighty thoughts

A long time ago, I read somewhere, can’t recall where, this was long before the Internet, so it was in a magazine, possibly “Prevention,” or “Shape,” or something along those lines.

A so-called health and fitness doctor said, “You’re ideal weight is what you weighed when you graduated high school.”

OK. There is one problem with that. What if you already had a weight problem then? Just because he seemed to have been at an ideal weight for him when he graduate high school, doesn’t translate to everyone having that same idealness.

For instance, I was just skin and bones when I graduated high school. I weighed all of 125 pounds. That translates to an underweight Body Mass Index (BMI) of 17.7. Normal BMI range for adults is 18.5 to 24.9. I was in the 9th percentile, meaning 91% of Americans weighed more than I did at my age and height.

I was able to suck in my gut so far, it would go up into my rib cage.

Skinny-Friend-That-Eats-A-Lot-Y-U-No-Get-Fat_o_101316

Yeah. I was one of those people who could eat as much as I wanted, not exercise, and never gained an ounce of weight. Those were the days.

Except it’s wasn’t my ideal weight. I was too skinny. For my height my ideal weight should be between 134 and 167 pounds. When I reach my current weight goal of 185, I’ll still be marginally overweight according to most health charts and I’ll have a BMI of 26.5.

visual.body1_1

I was a 17 as a teenager and a 33 just a few years ago

But when I reach that, I’ll still be healthier than I am now and I’ll also be healthier than I was when a I graduated high school.

So I have no idea where that so-called expert came up with the notion that your high school weight is your ideal weight, because that’s just a stinking pile of bullshit.

What is your ideal weight? Well, you could look at all the charts and graphs and measure and weight yourself until you come up with an estimate or you could just go see your health care professional, discuss your health goals and desires, and together you can come up with a healthy and reasonable weight goal. They might even be able to prepare a diet and exercise plan.

Do not put any faith into the Internet or so-called celebrity experts.

As they say, consult your doctor before you start any exercise or weight loss program.

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A weigh we go!

I’m reaching what for me is a milestone in my weight. 

Me, after my thyroid went wonky

Back in 1999, I blew up like the Michelin Man when my thyroid went on the fritz. Seriously, I have one picture that if I find it shows that is no exaggeration. My skin is white and puffy and you can hardly see my eyes because they’re just slits surrounded by puffy flesh. My lower legs were the worst. They had lost all their hair and were like playdough. You could push in on the flesh and leave a one-and-a-half inch indent that would stay there for quite some time. (Anyone remember the old pulp fiction action hero, The Avenger, who had lost nerve function to his face and could mold it like putty, changing his appearance to that of anyone? It was a little like that.)

I thought I was dying. I was scared.

My doctor ran me through a whole battery of tests to figure out what was wrong — nerve testing for my carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, chiropractors for my severe back pain, blood tests to see why I was cold and tired all the time — which is amusing (now that I look back on it), because we had a ferret who had a thyroid problem and he lost all the hair on his legs, so my wife kept saying it was my thyroid; it took my doctor months to come to the same conclusion!

And my weight shot up because my thyroid wasn’t regulating body functions properly; I was retaining fluids and I was just too damned tired to exercise. This experience has also made me a little less critical of people with weight problems because as with me, it might not be their fault and might be a medical condition.

So since 1999, I’ve been well over 200 pounds. I think I might have peaked close to 250 before I started taking my thyroid medication.

Today, I weighed myself and I’m almost, but not quite, at the point where I’ll drop below 200 pounds. Honestly, I can’t remember when I was below that. Early 1990s when I was still running seriously, before I developed shin splints? 

Now I’m only a couple pounds on the wrong side of 200. Part of me wants to fast just to reach it, but my luck, my body will think it’s experiencing a famine and it will hold onto its fat reserves even more tenaciously. So, no. Fasting isn’t the answer.

I do think I’ll run more often now that I see I’m approaching that marker. Instead of running three times a week, I’ll try to run five. Yesterday was the first time i ran on back-to-back days and i felt good.

Even though i can see 200, I’m nowhere near finished; after 200, I’ll still have at least 15 more pounds to go to reach my goal, but 200 is a great marker indicating my goal is within reach.

Yesterday, for grins, I lugged around a 20 pound barbell. It was exhausting! And I used to carry that, and more, around all the time!

By the way, losing weight is hard. You have to do exhausting aerobic exercises, get your heart rate up, sweat, breath heavy, for at least 20 minutes at a time, every other day preferably, plus you have to watch what you eat, count calories, watch fats, increase fiber, eat more fruits and veggies, and drink a lot of water (not soda or sugary energy drinks), and even then, depending on your.motabolism, you aren’t guaranteed fast results or huge losses.

Anyone who tells you losing weight is easy or all you need is their magic pill or secret formulation or miracle diet or superfood, tell them to Fuck Off. In fact, punch them in the nose, give them a good kick in the groin, then tell them to Fuck Off. The punch and kick will be good exercise.

Eat right. Drink water. Exercise your ass off.

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To sleep perchance to dream

I am so not a morning person. I might have mentioned this previously. To me, morning is for sleeping and you shouldn’t have to get up until the sun has warmed everything. 

I’d much prefer staying up late. It’s just how I’m wired, although as I’m getting older I can’t stay up as late as I once did and still expect to function at work in the morning. 

Yet, even going to bed earlier because I can’t stay up as late hasn’t made me a morning person. It’s just made me a tired night person.

This is all a lead-in to my present dilemma. 

Am not a morning person, so I run in the evenings. Always have. Problem that I’m seeing just recently, in the last month or so, is that after my evening run, I can’t fall asleep!

This bothers me because I have never had insomnia nor have my evening runs ever prevented me from sleeping. On the contrary, my evening runs exhausted me and I’d fall into an immediate, sound sleep.

Not lately, however. Now I find myself lying awake in bed tossing and turning. Some of it might be hormones like Adrenaline coursing through my veins, while some could be that my muscles and joints start to ache if I stay in one position too long, which forces me to change position, waking me up.

So my preamble to this was to demonstrate that switching my runs to the morning is a no go. That isn’t going to happen. Morning runs aren’t productive for me. I’m exhausted and can’t push myself the way I can in the evening, therefore I don’t improve.

Now, as an aside, I’m not one to take medication unless I have to (like the ones my doctor prescribes to keep me alive). I rarely take aspirin, but then I rarely get headaches. And the few times I’ve been prescribed pain medication, I’ve only used it if the pain became a 15 on a scale of 1 to 10.

For example, I had my wisdom teeth, all four, removed as a teen. The dentist gave me a bottle of pain killers. I never used them. In fact, I was eating popcorn that night. I will not be denied my popcorn!

The other night, however, Tuesday it was, I decided to try some Ibuprofen PM. Pain medication with a sleep aid. Now I have never in my life taken a sleep aid. Never. I’ve always had a fear of them. Of getting addicted. Of not getting real REM sleep. Of becoming one of those zombie-like people who are alternating between amphetamines and barbituates.

But I thought I’d try it just this once.

And it worked. I slept through the night. I had no joint pain and my brain took a break. Although the sleep aid did nothing for the dogs, they still had to get up, completely uncaring that I was now groggier than normal to put them out for their 1:00 AM piss.

The next morning, I woke refreshed without the usual joint stiffness I experience these days after exercise. I didn’t hobble down the stairs, groaning and grimacing.

So what did I learn? 

I’m not sure. I run again tonight and I’ll try the Ibuprofen PM again tonight and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Maybe just using it on run days I won’t get addicted?

Or is there something else I could do to help me sleep?

Do you take pain meds/sleep aids after exercise? How is that working for you? I’d like to know if I’m in the minority here. Or if I’m being overly paranoid.

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Ice is the new black

I’m beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, I’m not quite as young as I used to be.

I also think that icing and stretching my post-run muscles is the new norm.

Back when I was in my twenties, I rarely stretched and never iced. Heck, I didn’t even warm up.

I’d step outside and I’d immediately launch myself into full stride. When I finished my usual 12 mile run, I’d relax in a chair. No fuss, no muss. PBR me ASAP.

Then after several years flaunting my invincibility — shin splints.

Then and only then did I stretch and ice, but stubbornly only my calves. The damage however was already done. At that point only rest would help. Years of rest.

Fast forward to now. My last run was Saturday and the pain in my IT band area that started August 16th didn’t seem to be improving any. So every evening since Monday I’ve been icing my left gluteus, hip, and upper thigh.

And I’ve been doing standing squats quad extensions, calf curls, and other leg exercises. I ordered those stretchy bands so I can add those to my leg repertoire. They should arrive today.

None of those aggravate my hip/glute/thigh pain.

Last night, I tried a treadmill run. It seems the icing and stretching and weight training are helping. I was able to walk/run for about 28 minutes. 

Despite my impatience, I took the advice I’ve read in other blogs and took it slow. The first quarter mile at a brisk 4 mph walk. The next three-quarter miles at a 5 mph jog. Then a short run for a quarter mile at 6 mph, then back down to 4 mph, then 3.5 mph, finishing with a relaxing g 2 mph walk.

Then stretching with an ice pack on my ass.

And today, the leg feels better than it has in a long time. As I said, icing and stretching nightly are the new norms for me.

I just hope running with pain isn’t. 

This is what I feel like when I don’t run:

Run. Stretch. Ice. Repeat.
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